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Crystal's Riu Playacar Review (Long w/ Pics)


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#1 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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    Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:10 PM

    I am not quite sure how I am supposed to start out with this review so I guess I will just do an over all timeline/review of what happened beginning to end and then talk about particular things – i.e. the resort, food, staff, wedding in general.

    Day 1 – Monday, February 11th 2008
    We (myself, my fianc©, maid-of-honor, & 1 groomsman) arrived at the Cancun Airport at approx. 10:30 a.m. Getting our baggage was a breeze, we walked straight out of the airport (do not let any of the people in there stop you – they are trying to sell you timeshares!) and found our bus ride with Lomas Travel. The ride there wasn’t too good. We had to pile into a van that should hold no more than 8 people including the driver – we had 10-12 people in the van. I was smooshed in the back seat with my dress sitting on top of me. Thank God the driver offered us Corona’s because I was about to have a fit. It unfortunately rained our entire drive to the resort and let me tell you – Mexico does not have very good drainage systems at all! Water was EVERYWHERE. On our drive to Playa Del Carmen I was getting a bit nervous because the towns looked so poor – I was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into! And then all of a sudden we turned down this street and it felt like we entered a completely different place! We then drove down cobblestone roads and came to our resort – Riu Playacar (after dropping everyone else off at their resorts of course). So the van ride wasn’t great but hey that’s only 1 hour of the trip. Once we arrived at the resort I felt like a queen. They took our luggage for us and immediately handed us all drinks. Since we arrived there at 12:00 and the check-in wasn’t until 3:00 they took care of our luggage and we went to eat at the buffet restaurant. We were able to check into our rooms before the check-in time. Once in the room, I unpacked everything and got my OOT Bags put together so that I would have them ready to deliver. Just a little later our friends/photographer arrived. It rained the entire first day there so we had dinner in the buffet and sat at the inside bar the rest of the evening.
    (I promise to post pics of the OOT Bags very soon!)

    Day 2
    We and our 4 witnesses had a meeting with our WC at the Riu Palace at 9 a.m. This is where I realized that I had picked the wrong person as my MOH (ok ok, I think I realized that way before but this is when it really hit me). The WC took all of our passports & copied them and then told our witnesses they could leave and do as the please. So they did, except my friend/photographer said that she wanted to stay so she could get the details and write the timeline down (something my MOH should have wanted to do aswell!) The WC went through things so quickly at the meeting. This is where we picked out our ceremony site, flowers, restaurant, music for the ceremony and all other details. The hardest decision for me was the ceremony site. I was scared to do the beach because of all the onlookers but when I seen the picture of the “garden” site I was not impressed at all. So I decided I wanted to actually go look at the sites before I made a decision. In the end, I decided on the beach and I am extremely glad I did.
    At 12:00 noon that day the physician showed up at our room for the blood work tests. I was SO nervous about this because I have a serious needle phobia. I have to say this was by far the worst part because although my fiance’s went fine, the physician couldn’t hardly find a vein in me! I was so close to passing out!
    After all that commotion we went and had lunch so I could get a little color back after the bloodwork & then spent the day at the poolbar. I think we all learned our lessons that day though – You really don’t realize how much you’ve drank until you finally get out of the pool! Haha. At about 4:30 we got out of the pool & realized that we were all quite drunk actually. So everyone went to their rooms and passed out for a few hours then we had dinner at the Asian Restaurant (which I thought was great!).
    After dinner my maid-of-honor and her boyfriend (one of the groomsman) went straight to bed but myself, my fianc©, and our 2 friends decided to walk on the beach. The beach and water there was SO amazing… You can even see Cozumel’s skyline from our beach at night.. (As I am writing this I am wishing I was back there now…)
    The First Picture below is Scott & I sitting out on a bench at the Palace after our meeting with the WC. The Second picture is us walking back to the resort after our meeting. And the Third picture is us attempting to do water aerobics.
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    #2 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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      Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:15 PM

      Day 3
      Like every day we got up, went to breakfast, then headed to the poolbar. We all felt like this was our last day to really relax because the rest of the family & friends were arriving that day. So we spent as much time at the pool relaxing. Everyone else showed up around 12:00 and had their lunch and of course we had to listen to all of their crazy stories about their flight. Then they all jumped in the pool with us and… it started raining again! This time we decided we would just stay in the pool and hide under the poolbar and continue drinking. It only rained for about 20 minutes so it was not a big deal at all. (Although, being the bride I had a minor meltdown because I just swore it would rain on my wedding day). My mother (which I am sure I will be venting about in the Vent Chat Room soon!) made a complete fool out of herself and made me wish she wasn’t there. I know that sounds harsh but if you seen what went on you would completely agree.
      That evening my older brother was due to arrive. His “lovely” wife didn’t want to use my travel agent because she thought it was too expensive so she took it upon herself to make my brother’s plans for him (her and the kids didn’t come). By 7:30 p.m. I hadn’t heard a word from my brother. After frantically calling the front desk non-stop to see if he had checked in, I finally went down and they told me that he did check in but they sent him to the Riu Palace! I had a melt down because I was sure he was lost and confused. We tried all night to get a hold of him but it was unsuccessful.

      Day 4
      I still hadn’t heard from my brother & knew that I had to find a way to find him that day. We went to breakfast and then walked across the street to a few shops when someone came over & said they seen my brother roaming around our lobby. So I ran over there to see what was going on. He said when he arrived to our hotel the night before he couldn’t understand what the people at the front desk were saying and the next thing he knew they were packing his things back in the taxi and took him to the Palace! He said he was completely lost and confused and had no idea where he was at the night before. But he made it and that was all that mattered.
      This is the day that I got EXTREMELY sunburnt. I thought I was being very smart because I was wearing 50 SPF the whole time. Well that day I did not put anything on my legs and I literally only sat out in the sun 20 minutes and my legs were fried!
      I was in so much pain trying to get ready for dinner and putting my pants on was a nightmare! (the sun is closer down there so don’t think that you won’t get burnt – be prepared!)
      That evening we had dinner with my brother at the Mexican Specialty Restaurant (it wasn’t my favorite out of all of them but the others seemed to love it).
      This also happened to be Valentines Day, Our 1st Date Anniversary (2 years), and the night before our wedding! Everyone gave us a lot of grief over it but I insisted that we stayed together that night. Not only was I getting nervous about the next day but I was also in so much pain from the sunburn that I could hardly stand it. So I needed him there for comfort.
      Pictures: Dinner the night before the big day - Scott & I, My brother & I, and Christina & Nathan (photographer/friends)
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      #3 ACDCDCAC

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      Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:20 PM

      Doing great! Can't wait to read the rest and go home to see the pics!

      #4 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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        Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:21 PM

        Day 5 WEDDING DAY!!

        We awoke at about 7:30. I decided that I was going to go down and eat breakfast alone and Scott planned on taking his shower and what not and be out of the room before I got back. He was actually walking down the stairs as I was coming back – I was happy to see him one last time before the wedding! We gave each other a quick smooch and that was the last moment I seen him until I walked down the isle.
        I had an appointment at the Palace Spa at 9:30 to get my make-up done. Since my photographer and her boyfriend were brave enough to rent a car when they got there, they drove me so that I could be in the AC & my make up wouldn’t melt. The make-up artist was WONDERFUL and I could not even believe how great my make-up turned out.
        As we were getting back to the resort (running late of course) one of my bridesmaids (Scott’s witch of a S-I-L) started screaming at me. I thought she was saying I was late so I kept walking saying “I know I know, I’m going!!”. Next thing I know, Lindsy (another bridesmaid) comes up to me asking what we were going to do since the electric had gone out!! I gave her a deer-in-the-headlights look and she said “oh, didn’t you hear Sarah? The electric went out” Ok, time for freak-out mode! The electric has gone out and my hair has not been touched, in fact it is quite frizzy due to the humidity! At this moment I also got in a very VERY big fight with Sarah. (I’m talking, if it wasn’t my wedding day and I wasn’t scared of messing my face up, I would have most likely punched her square in the face).
        Then we decided we would pack all my hair things up and run back over to the Palace. While my lovely photographer, Christina, drove me and 2 bridesmaids back to the Palace, Sarah decided to be a baby and stomp off crying saying she would walk herself. (thank God!)
        Once at the Palace, we found my WC who was no help at all so I decided I would go to the spa and see if they had time to do my hair.. Nobody was there! So I run back to the lobby and the girls have curling irons plugged in all over the lobby. So, the lobby of the Palace is where my hair was done.
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        #5 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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          Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:28 PM

          Once we got down to the meeting place my nerves really kicked in and I thought I was going to pass out. The next thing I know my step-dad is walking me down the isle while the song “Lost In This Moment” by Big & Rich is playing. The first moment I saw Scott’s eyes my heart began to melt and nothing else mattered. I didn’t even notice all the people in their swimsuits and speedos. (In fact, I didn’t know anyone else was around until I looked at pictures later) The wedding was beautiful. The officiant spoke in Spanish and our WC translated it into English. What he said was so beautiful. Then Scott & I exchanged our vows that we had written, we did the sand ceremony, and of course us and the witnesses signed the marriage certificate – along with our thumbprints =-)
          And the funny part, we chose the song “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent to walk away to.
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          #6 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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            Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:40 PM

            After the ceremony we went and did all of our photographs. The family & group ones were done at our resort and then the bridal party went to the Palace to have them done there. That is also where we had our alone ones done aswell. The photographs took until about 2:00-2:30 and at that time we went back and had a quick lunch that was set up for us and then went to the La Cumbia bar for our “Cocktail Hours”.
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            #7 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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              Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:51 PM

              The guests came and gone for a few hours during the cocktail hours and at 5:00 we met again to do our fun photographs on the beach. Then we had our beautiful reception dinner at the SteakHouse. The table was set up just wonderful (I did not bring any of my own decorations, so they set it up with white table clothes and candles). Afterwards, we went back to the bar for a bit and did a few more Tequila Slammers with everyone and that was it. Our day was over. I couldn’t believe how fast it went by. There were times in the middle of everything where I wished I could stop time because I could feel everything just flying by. After all the hard work and preparation, it was over in a blink of an eye.
              When we arrived back to our room we had a basket of fruit and a bottle of the Tequila they used to make our Tequila Slammers. And seriously, we went straight to bed and passed out right away.
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              #8 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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                Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:52 PM

                Day 6
                We awoke to a waiter knocking on the door with our breakfast in bed. Which if you ask my husband, he called it a teaser. Haha. It was some wonderful fruits, cheeses, ham, toast, milk, OJ, and coffee. I was most excited to actually have coffee in bed to tell you the truth. After breakfast we headed down and went straight to the pool again. We spent practically the entire day in the pool and beach and had just a wonderful time. That night I decided that I felt like we really needed some time to ourselves so we made the decision we would go shopping the next day on 5th Street without everyone else.

                Day 7 Our last full day…
                This was the day we decided to go shopping. I have to be completely honest when I say I don’t know if I will ever go back to 5th Street when we go back to Playa Del Carmen. I don’t know if our taxi driver dropped us off on the wrong end of the town but the people there were so scary! There was a point where I was almost in tears and saying that I wanted to go back. People there are so desperately poor down there that they will do and say anything to get you into their stores. My only advice is to not even look at these people who are trying to get you to go in their stores. Just pretend like you don’t even hear them. The one thing I did love about 5th Street is the bar that has swings instead of stools. We stayed there for quite a while & everyone in there was very nice. We were so happy to have Jack & Coke (our resort didn’t have either and we are avid Jack & Coke drinkers).
                We got back to the resort in early afternoon and had lunch (we were starving and my husband said he was scared to eat on 5th Street – what a baby!) Afterwards we spent a little time in the pool and went for one more jump in the ocean. We had dinner at the Mexican SteakHouse and then Scott & I spent the rest of the evening at La Cumbia bar and then went down and sat on the lounge chairs on the beach at night. We were both so sad to be leaving the next day but admitted that we missed our home and we were ready to get our lives started together.


                Day 8 Time to go home
                We awoke bright and early at 6:00 a.m. and got all of our things down to the lobby & had a quick breakfast before we said our sad goodbyes to the employees and boarded the bus. This bus ride was SO much better than the one to the resort. We actually had a large chartered and air conditioned bus this time. We got through the lines pretty quickly at the airport only to find out we had to sit and wait over 2 more hours because our plane had been delayed. Everyone was getting extremely anxious by this time of course. Finally the plane came and we were ready to go. Back in the states things went okay. We did get stopped in customs and they checked our bags because I had been carrying my live-bouquet of flowers from the wedding. The did luckily let me keep them though. I was so worried they would make me throw them away. And finally we were home and my husband carried me through the front door.

                #9 FinallyMrsBeckermann

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                  Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:55 PM

                  Riu Playacar

                  Here is the portion about the resort in general.

                  Rooms: The rooms were okay. I would say if you are going to the resort and want to have a big luxurious room, this is definitely not the place for you. The rooms did their job for us though. A place to sleep, shower, and get ready was all we needed. And yes, our AC worked great. We actually turned our ceiling fan off at night because it got a big chilly in the room.

                  Restaurants: The buffet was great. They had a enormous breakfast buffet and dinner buffet located right off the lobby area. The lunch buffet was down by the pool area and it was great aswell. They had 3 specialty restaraunts that you had to make reservations for each morning.
                  The SteakHouse: It seemed like most people liked this one the best. I loved their chicken! The service was wonderful as well as the menu. This is actually where we had our reception dinner after the wedding.
                  Mexican Cuisine: This isn’t what you think typical Mexican food is. They had a lot of steak and chicken and the only thing that I thought looked Mexican was the burrito. But it was all wonderful and the guys seemed to really enjoy it.
                  Asian Cuisine: I really have to say this was my favorite place. They have an assortment of sushi (I don’t eat sushi so I can’t tell you if it was good or not) and then they had some great chicken terriki kabobs, braised duck, fried rice, white rice.. just anything and everything and it was wonderful. But I guess if you don’t like Asian food, I wouldn’t recommend it.

                  Staff: I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful the staff at Riu Playacar was! They were so amazing and so much fun! You wouldn’t believe how hard they work. Some of them worked all day long and then in the evening did the entertainment shows (which were also wonderful by the way). Our FunJet Vacations Rep, Omar, was the best! If there was anything at all you needed or didn’t like about your rooms, it was fixed in a matter of minutes.

                  Spa
                  The Riu Playacar has a small spa out on the beach for massages, which my mother used and loved. But for my make-up I went 2 resorts down to the Riu Palace Spa. Like I said earlier, the make-up artist was WONDERFUL and did a fantastic job. But that is all I had done there.

                  Riu Playacar Wedding Portion:
                  Location: The Playacar has 2 locations for the ceremony – the beach and garden. I was extremely nervous about the beach because of all the people that would be staring but after I seen both spots I decided on the beach. And in the end I think it was the best choice. Like I said – I did not even notice anyone when I was walking down the isle.
                  D©cor: I was a bad bride and did not bring any decorations. Our archway that they provided was BEAUTIFUL. And the reception table was set up for simple and elegant so that was more than good enough for me.
                  Wedding Coordinator: I have to be honest when I say that I thought our WC could have helped us a little more. I felt like we were completely on our own when doing things.

                  Riu Playacar is definitely some where that we plan on going back to several times. Everything was so wonderful there. But I am going to be dead honest with you. If you are a very picky bride and … well.. high-maintenance this may not be the best choice to hold your wedding. I am a very low-key, simple woman so this place was wonderful for me. I have TONS of pictures so if anyone would like, just send me a message and I can give you the link to Snapfish.

                  #10 amym567

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                    Posted 26 February 2008 - 01:22 AM

                    Crystal~
                    I LOVED reading your review of "our" place! Wasn't Omar the best!!!!!! We loved him! In fact, my MIL suggested that as a name for our baby (she was joking!). We had a bus take us to the resort (we actually had to stop somewhere for more Coronas, because we had a BIG group of a lot of drinkers on that bus!). What kind of room did you have? We had a suite with a sitting area, so felt like we had plenty of space. I definitely needed all of that room for all of the stuff I had. You know I want to see your pix! Please e-mail me the info at: LSjewelry@msn.com.
                    Thanks!
                    Amy




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